Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery: Review
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery Synopsis: Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites his friends for a getaway on his private Greek island. When someone turns up dead, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is put on the case.
Famed detective Benoit Blanc embarks on another investigative crusade when a dead body is discovered during a socialite getaway in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Writer/director Rian Johnson left a substantial impact with the release of Knives Out in 2019. The film became one of the few original features to break the bank at the box office, earning over $300 million worldwide on an economical $40 million budget. Knives Out's financial triumphs, along with an outpouring of glowing critical reviews and positive audience responses, positioned the film as the ignition point for our zeitgeist's newfound obsession with engaging mystery narratives (Hulu's Only Murders in the Building and AppleTV+'s The After Party also capitalized on the current craze).
Now settled at Netflix after a massive $400 million rights acquisition, Johnson continues the Knives Out franchise with another page-turning puzzle. This time, Johnson travels from the stuffy confines of a Massachusetts mansion to the sun-kissed appeals of a private Greek island.
In Glass Onion, affable detective Benoit Blanc finds himself as a guest for tech billionaire Miles Bron's vacation getaway during the coronavirus pandemic's onset. Bron invites his familiar league of faithful socialites, including surging politician Claire Debella, controversy-ridden fashion designer Biride Jay, an overtly masculine, Joe Rogan-esque streamer Duke Cody, and Bron's scientific confidant, Lionel Toussaint.
The invite is also extended to Cassandra Brand - Bron's former business partner who was mercilessly cut out of the company after voting against Bron's pursuit of a questionable new energy source. Miles plans to host a murder mystery game over the weekend getaway, but his plans suddenly shift when a dead body is discovered.
Johnson, who initially made his name with inventive genre films like Brick and Looper, proves himself yet again as a master of whodunit narratives. His direction is wonderfully expressive in its buoyant energy and stylistic verve, with the filmmaker often discovering ingenious avenues for heightening the palpable tensions on display. Glass Onion also defines a lively sense of place. Johnson and Cinematographer Steve Yedlin entrench viewers in the glamorous allure of a scenic vacation destination bursting with affluent luxuries. The picture perfect setting boasts undeniable appeal, but it quickly becomes apparent that not all is what it seems.
Similar to its predecessor, Glass Onion's screenplay is adept at staying two steps ahead of viewers' expectations. I appreciate the gamble Johnson takes with his sequel, transforming the typical mystery plot thread on its head with ingenious risks that land with a compelling payoff. It's clear with Glass Onion that the writer/director has no intentions of playing it safe as he continues to build upon Knives Out's sturdy foundation.
Johnson also remains well-versed in imbuing layers of intriguing social commentary beneath the film's crowdpleasing elements. Miles and his motley crew of callous elites each serve as amusing representations of famous figureheads who concentrate solely on maintaining their illustrious status. While the characters may seem to possess meaningful camaraderie, their relationships are instead predicated on constant deceit and their own self-serving desires.
I don't think Knives Out or Glass Onion says anything particularly revelatory about elitist culture. Still, the film and its rogues' gallery of self-entitled character does enhance the bubbling deception baked within the premise's evolving predicament. I would say this sequel's thematic ambitions work at their best when satirizing the self-absorbed aurae social elites wear - an invisible mask that makes the characters feel inherently superior to the struggling world around them.
A skilled all-star cast helps tremendously in enriching the film's scumbag subjects. Edward Norton is fittingly smarmy as tech "genius" Miles Bron. Kate Hudson chews the scenery with rousing comedic impact as the vapid Biride Jay. Janelle Monae evokes expressive dimensions as Cassandra Brand, while Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kathryn Hahn skillfully personify their supporting roles as a trio of Miles' indebted friends.
At the center of it all is Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc. Boasting a quick wit and a charming southern drawl, Blanc is a magnetic scene-stealer in every sense. Craig displays expressive range and radiant charms in his portrayal of Blanc's vibrant personality, but it's the actor's immense skill set that always grounds the character in a genuine place.
I had a blast through Glass Onion. It's a well-composed and sharply delivered sequel that seamlessly builds upon the foundation of its acclaimed predecessor. I am excited to see what new ideas Johnson brings to the table with the series' inevitable third entry.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is now playing on Netflix.